Source: INPHO

Last-minute Adjustments to England’s Squad – Super Series

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England have had to make two late changes to the squad travelling to San Diego for the Super Series starting on July 26.

Sadly, the two centres, Tatyana Heard and Lagi Tuima are unable to take part. They are replaced by Millie Wood (Gloucester-Hartpury) and Jo Brown (Loughborough Lightning).

These are not direct replacements. The selectors are sacrificing a back for a forward: Brown is a flanker. This is strangely parallel to the change made before the start of the World Cup in Ireland two years ago. When Emily Scott got injured, she was replaced by Poppy Cleall, a back for a forward. That was a wise decision – as I wrote at the time: This replacement of a back with a forward was an unspoken admission of an error: making a 15/13 split between forwards and backs, where most nations opted for the safer 16/12 split. The wear and tear on forwards could not be overlooked.

This time round, the pack was potentially light on the flank, especially the open side. Brown can expect to be asked to fill either side of the scrum. It restores the balance to 16:12.

This is where flexibility comes into play. Both Williams and Wood can expect to play centre or wing.

The Squad
Forwards

Zoe Aldcroft lock
Sarah Beckett flanker/No 8
Sarah Bern prop
Hannah Botterman  prop
Jo Brown flanker
Poppy Cleall lock
Vickii Cornborough prop
Lark Davies  hooker
Chloe Edwards prop
Sarah Hunter (C) No 8
Heather Kerr  prop/hooker
Clara Nielson hooker
Cath O’Donnell lock
Marlie Packer flanker
Ellena Perry prop
Abbie Scott lock
(16)

Backs
Zoe Harrison fly-half
Natasha Hunt scrum-half
Claudia MacDonald scrum-half
Sarah McKenna full-back
Amber Reed centre/fly-half
Leanne Riley scrum-half
Emily Scarratt centre/full-back
Emily Scott full-back/fly-half
Kelly Smith wing
Lydia Thompson wing
Carys Williams centre/wing
Millie Wood centre-wing
(12)

Once more we are left wondering: what if 30 names had been posted?

USA squad now numbers 28 + 7 ‘injury’ reserves

The French squad had their last training session at Marcoussis on Sunday, before flying out.

The Black Ferns flew out from Auckland on Saturday.

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